NBR Article: Anderson Lloyd’s gold rush
Anderson Lloyd’s origins in the Dunedin gold rush days, a mere 154 years ago when Bryan Haggitt set up what has become one of New Zealand’s oldest law firms, has continued, with the recent $130 million deal involving the sales of Newmont’s Waihi mine by OceanaGold but also to its continued growth and a hectic fortnight of rebranding and new offices.
Since expanding to Auckland in 2014 with the recruitment of three Russell McVeagh partner alumni, Geoff Busch, David Holden and Chris Bargery, the firm has developed its Auckland presence and client base with a busy workload, while also expanding its South Island offices, particularly the frantically busy Queenstown office, home to six of the firm’s 19 partners.
Apart from the recent Waihi sale, involving teams across the firm’s four offices, it has been developing work with a growing roster of national and international clients, which have driven firm revenues as the firm works toward focusing on key areas of specialisation rather than becoming a mega-firm, says CEO Richard Greenaway. He says the firm has been “patient,” waiting for its opportunity to grow in Auckland, which arrived with the lateral hires of the Russell McVeagh trio and support staff and with strategic hires in other centres.
The past fortnight has been particularly busy for the firm with its move to new Britomart premises in Auckland, the rolling out of a new financial and practice management system from LawMaster in Australia and a major firm rebrand.
The re-brand was not just about new imagery, fonts and colours, Mr Greenaway says, but also about “raising the bar culturally and professionally.” The branding is more reflective of what the firm does and who it is, he says.
The firm’s South Island base is not one to detract from a strong, team-based approach to its work. Mr Busch says that the firm is delivering a premium offering, still enjoying the friendly relationship with Russell McVeagh that was highlighted when the former partners left the larger firm, and it has achieved growth based on attracting the right people, both financially (in terms of clients) and culturally (in terms of ‘fit’).
The firm’s focus on gender equality, with about one-third of partners being women, along with the flexibility offered by technology and the attractions of a fast-growing Queenstown office which is attracting a number of big law recruits, make it an attractive alternative to some of the other larger firms. The focus on flexibility and the involvement of all offices on major projects is something that has made the old firm model of five or six lawyers per partner redundant, Mr Busch says. The firm is focused on being lean and connected so as to deliver the best quality work possible.
The workflow, particularly in the Queenstown office where six of the firm’s 19 partners work, has grown strongly. The other offices remain busy with a new equity partner now in Dunedin too. The firm is on three of the four major bank panels and M&A, private equity, PPP and resource management and other property and commercial work promise to test the new practice management software being implemented across the four offices.